Demo continues: Windows, trim, and lights

Hi everyone! Just a quick check in this week as we continue our demo with the removal of our windows and trim.

The windows were a little tricky to remove.

First, we had to remove the screens and latches. The screens are held on by a few screws and should pop right out. The latches also just have a few nuts holding them on, but were a bit of a challenge due to 50 years of rust. We soaked them in WD-40, and with a little bit of force and a lot of patience we pulled all 12. The push arms are held onto the windows by round retention clips which are very difficult to remove in place. Instead, we found drilling out the rivets on the brackets to be much easier.

Finally, the window itself is held onto the frame with a special hinge. We removed the windows by rotating them up well north of 90 degrees. You have to be very careful as the windows will release suddenly. This last part was pretty difficult with a few windows as the hinge was bent. One of the windows even needed the rivets drilled out of the hinge. You’ll see in our video where I struggled to remove the first window frame until I got the hang of it.

The lights were quick business. A few screws and some rivets out of the way will free them right up. We took lots of pictures of the light lenses and canisters to match replacements. We want the replacements to be as close to original as possible (unfortunately the old ones are not salvageable).

The compartment doors should have been straight forward, but we’re quickly learning that nothing is easy on a vintage Airstream. The rear door was locked and when we purchased the trailer it didn’t come with the key. So we disassembled the lock from the inside and drilled out the rivets holding the hinge to the body. We then used a heat gun to soften the sealant around the perimeter until the door broke loose. The curbside door had after-market door hinges and came right out with a Phillips-head screw driver. The refrigerator access door on the road-side was bolted and had a generous helping of sealant. Someone obviously had no intention of ever opening it again, but we were able to get it removed, along with much of the sealant.

We also removed the trim including the banana wraps to prepare for lifting the shell off of the frame. The lower body molding is held on by pop rivets which come out easily with a 1/8″ drill bit or a rivet removal tool. The molding on ours also had a fair bit of sealant and even some silicone. Unfortunately, the molding was decimated after we pried it off and was mostly unusable. Thankfully, we found a supplier for replacement molding that was an exact match to ours (albeit an expensive purchase). A lot of the parts we are removing are not going to be salvageable, so we’ll have another post where we discuss the best places to acquire replacement trim, lights, and windows.

The pictures below were taken at different stages of demolition. Forgive us if the you notice that the inner skins are already out in some of the pictures but we’ve been jumping from project to project. Thanks for following along and shoot us any questions below!

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